My husband and I got brave yesterday. Armed with our boys and tickets from my mother-in-law, we went to the Washington State Fair. My boys are 2 and 3, that pretty much explains why we were brave to go. But, add to that, the weather was finicky and oscillated between sun and torrential downpour.
We bought fair fries (my favorite!) that mound over two paper plates in a rectangular shape reminiscent of the deep fry basket they came from. We bought ride tickets too. $20 got us enough tickets for two rides, yes just two! Hank and Bart rode the black widow, also known as the octopus. Because of their weight differential, their car spun around with the most vigor. My heart jumped and stopped simultaneously while watching from the ground. I wondered if Hank was loving it or about to throw up. Would he swear off rides? This was his very first time going on a ride at the fair. Praise be to God, he actually enjoyed it!
Next we put the boys together in a little plastic canoe that travelled around in a big wiggly circle going under tipi’s every so often. They loved it, Gideon cried and threw a fit when the ride was done. The ride operator told the boys to keep their hands inside the canoe. Hank was a model child sitting patiently while Gideon hung his hand in the water up to his sleeve. When told to stop by the ride operator, Gideon just laughed and laughed. Stinker. 😉
The rain started then and we all got pretty wet. Low on tickets, we went to Pete’s Barbeque Pit for dinner. Hank ate a half ear of corn to himself and even tried my pulled pork sandwich. Bart, or superman, negotiated Gideon and his bowl of wandering coleslaw.
We managed to look at horses and chickens too. Hank even got to see Horses walking by within reach. One horse whinnied at Hank. I was surprised by how loud they are close up.
We had just a few tickets left so we headed to play some fair games. Hank had a particular toy in mind. It was a weird alien looking dinosaur. In his defense, I think he wanted it because of its dino characteristics. The game was basically impossible, but, Bart gave it a solid effort. While wearing Gideon in the Ergo carrier on his chest he swung a rubber hammer to hit a spring-loaded platform that sends a rubber frog flopping toward shallow baskets on a table. I should add the table was jam-packed with these alien dino’s. Well, no dice. Leaving without the toy was confusing to Hank. He is after all only three. He didn’t understand that you can pay for something and not leave with the toy.
With our bellies full and our tickets spent we walked soppily back to our street parked car. Yeah, we got free parking! On our trek out, Hank wailed. I’m sure he and Gideon were exhausted from all the stimulation and bedtime was fast approaching. We overheard, over the loud cries, a man exclaim, “I’m so glad I don’t have children.” My gut reaction was to turn around and say, “I heard that and I’m so glad you don’t have children too.” But then reason gave way. Getting into a fight with a man at the fair was not what my wet and exhausted children needed. We held our heads high and went back to our car.
I am glad we went with the boys this year. This time last year, I couldn’t even get out of my hospital bed. God is so good it is absolutely unreal the miracles He has done and continues to do today.
I got to thinking though. For folks who feel the need to say unkind things to families with crying children, this letter is for you. 🙂
Dear childless stranger at the Washington State Fair, I know you loudly exclaimed, “I’m so glad I don’t have children.” in response to hearing my child’s cries as you passed us. While he was very upset, I can’t help but feel sorry for you because you are missing out. There is SO much more to having children than their tears. They are the greatest gift after salvation. Now, more clearly than before children, I see a glimpse of God’s love for me as His child. Children admire you, emulate you and simply look to you for what it is to be an adult because one day they will be too. Please watch what you say around them.
Dear Jesus, thank you for this fun outing and the opportunity for Hank and Gideon to experience the chaos that is the Washington State Fair. Amen.